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It is definately mandatory. I will not now go on a cruise line that is not honest about its fares/charges. These so called 'tips' are wages and the cruise lines should pay their staff properly not charge their customers endless 'add ons'. Along with this per person per day Gratuity there are service charges etc added to bar bills, spas etc. Make your views known to the cruise companies. Ocean Village for instance states clearly in their brochure that all this type of gratuity is INCLUDED in the fare, presumably because there is an uprising against such add ons. Some airlines were stopped in UK from such 'unfair practices' perhaps those such as NCL should be investigated whilst they sail out of british ports. Alternativly work out the cost of the add ons, add them to your cruise price and see whether it is still a bargain - if it is go and enjoy !!
This question is for Neil Downs (He's got a thing about making sure every member of staff receives a tip whether they earn if or not) Over to you Neil.
NCL now have a 'mandatory service charge' as opposed to a 'autotip'. This can only be removed in the event of a dispute. So it depends on the service you receive & how you perceive it.
Been on a number of ships where the service charge is said to be mandatory. Just went to reception on the day before final billing and asked for it to be removed as we wanted to do our own tipping individually. never had any problems. Don't think its as mandatory as people are led to believe - just ask!!